OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) – On lunch break, three coworkers enjoy a meal at Piccini in Ocean City. If it was dinner time Eileen Clontz says she’d have a different beverage preference.
“Personally I’d like to have a bottle of wine with dinner,” Clontz said.
Restaurant owner Dave Cates says his business would see a negative impact from diners who tend to linger over a meal with alcohol.
“In terms of trying to turn over tables and deal with summer clientele, we’re not a place to sit and hang all night,” said Cates.
A week from Tuesday, voters in Ocean City will go to the polls and vote on a referendum that would allow diners to bring their own beer or wine to restaurants.
Historically Ocean City has been a dry town.
“Why change something that’s great?” asks Tony Polcini of Manco & Manco Pizza on the boardwalk.
The referendum excludes boardwalk establishments and Polcini doesn’t mind. He opposes it and says he wants customers to bring alcohol in.
“You want your turnovers, you only have a few months to get people in and out so that wouldn’t help us”
“How’s your meal?” asks Jennifer Bailey of Who’s on First cafe on Asbury Avenue. She favors the referendum believing it will bring in more business to her restaurant.
“A lot of my customers order takeout and go home and have drinks with the meal,” said Bailey.
“We come in for lunch often, not as often for dinner, but would come more if they changed,” said Dan Moses of Somers Point.
The Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the issue. The mayor who is opposed to it says voter turnout is expected to be high. He released a statement that reads in part:
“Regardless of the opinions on this issue, we are all still neighbors in one of the greatest cities in America.”
If the referendum passes, restaurants can make their own decisions on becoming a BYOB. Some expect if it is successful, the boardwalk exemption would be challenged.